New command ready for unique mission
October 19, 2006
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Army News Service, Oct 19, 2006) - The Army's newest service component command has a dedicated mission unlike any other - defending the homeland and supporting civil authorities during times of crisis.
The U.S. Army North achieved full operational capability Oct. 16 following a year of intense planning, manning, equipping and training.
"We have come a long way," said Lt. Gen. Robert T. Clark, U.S. Army North commander. "We conducted a robust training and exercise program and have worked to establish critical relationships with federal, state and local partners in disaster response."
The command is based at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and is the Army service component of U.S. Northern Command. Its mission includes homeland defense, defense support of civil authorities, and theater security cooperation activities with Canada and Mexico.
To conduct day-to-day disaster response planning, the command has aligned a defense coordinating officer and a 5-person defense coordinating element with each of the ten Federal Emergency Management Agency regions.
The command is also able to task-organize up to two task forces that, with augmentation, can become joint task forces and deploy within an operational area to command and control Defense Department forces responding to homeland defense or civil support operations.
In addition, the command oversees the training and readiness of Civil Support Response Teams, National Guard units dedicated to weapons-of-mass destruction and other disaster response missions.
During the last year of building toward full operating capability, U.S. Army North performed various civil support missions, to include providing support during the 2006 wildfire season and the 2005 hurricane season.
Upcoming events for the command include Golden Guardian, a California emergency response exercise in November, and Vigilant Shield '07, a U.S. Northern Command exercise in December.
The U.S. Army North was conceived in 2004 and traces its lineage to the Fifth U.S. Army. Its creation as the Army service component command was directed as part of Army transformation, a Department of the Army effort to adapt the Army headquarters command structure to execute Military Department Title 10 functions more effectively and efficiently.